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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I ride local trails here in MN, prefer to stay on the ground and don't do a lot of the technical features. I ride Elm Creek flows single-track the most, with occasional rides in Duluth, Cuyuna, or even CO. I ride a few thousand miles a year, 3-5 days a week. I have always ridden used bikes, it has allowed me to ride much nicer stuff than I could otherwise afford if purchased new. I currently have a Felt F5x full carbon cx bike I ride on road and gravel. I have 2 fat bikes that I love, a 2011 Fatback Rocker 170, and a 2015 Specialized Fatboy.

My mtb is a 2005 Stumpjumper hardtail. It is 3x9 Sram x7/x9, Fox 90mm fork, modern Shimano XT disc brakes. I just swapped some 720mm wide bars and shorter stem and love the new feel, but I can't stop thinking about trying something different. I love the speed of this bike, but if I believe all the hype on the internet, newer geo and/or full squish is a game changer.

I recently rode the Duluth Traverse on my Fatback, just to see if the larger tires worked better on the rougher terrain and rocks. It was - but 43+ miles and 3500 feet of climbing on a fatbike may not be the best solution.

I can't decide what to look for - there are virtually no new bikes to buy, and I am too thrifty to drop $2000+ on bikes that have gotten more expensive stove Covid. Riding my 16 year old bike that cost less than $500 works, but I want to move on.

I am all over the board with my options, based on what I see for sale. My budget is $1500 max. I am intrigued by 2020 Specialized Fuse, but not excited about the base model specs. 27.5 or 29? I found a 2012 Epic Comp 29er full suspension for $1000 - the geo seems similar to my 05 Stumpjumper but fs and 29" wheels. Not slack or "modern trail" specs - but I does that matter for my style riding? Do I want the complexity of full suspension, or can I continue to rock a hardtail?

Again, I am always pulled into the idea of getting a higher end used bike to get more for my money. Something like a $3000+ Epic for $1000 vs. an $1250 Timberjack for $800. What suggestions do you have for me??
 

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Either side of $1500 should get you a plenty fine hard tail bike with modern elements that really matter.

The right drop bar bike might work too. I've ridden around Duluth with hard tail, dual suspension trail bike and Kona Sutra Ltd that is a drop bar bike fun to ride anywhere.My Honzo long-running favorite would be more expensive in steel version. My Honzo long-running favorite would be more expensive in steel version. Trek updated the Roscoe as a 29r. I've seen the prototypes and assume the production model looks better.

You might have to wait but if you have bikes now that wait could be worth it. Go to demos or group rides to possibly try stuff. You need to decide on wheel size but my preference became 29r after the handling improved. Getting used to higher axle hight is an issue.

A whole lot of used bikes do not have through axles, modern geometry or dropper posts. Ones that do are not exactly bargains lately. I would not commit to a used bike before you can learn the advantages of the more slack, lower, ride in vs on newer bikes.
 

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Times are tough with more competition for used and new bikes. You'll get more for $1500 used. So I'd skip new and your terrain won't respond much to the new slacker geo. Which is good for used and your chances. I'd make a habit of going to Pinkbike Buy/Sell every day and look for bikes in your price range + $500 or $1000 negotiating space. A Trek Top Fuel or Scott Spark may turn up as the new versions are just now out. Guys may want to trade up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I scored a 2015 Salsa Spearfish yesterday! It is a 6066 alloy 29er with 80mm rear travel, 100mm Fox fork built to be an XC endurance bike. It already had a KS Lev DX dropper post and a Brooks C17 saddle. I am swapping on my XT brakes in place of the Deore that was on there. One ride in and I love it. I am excited to get it out on my favorite single-track.
 

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I scored a 2015 Salsa Spearfish yesterday! It is a 6066 alloy 29er with 80mm rear travel, 100mm Fox fork built to be an XC endurance bike. It already had a KS Lev DX dropper post and a Brooks C17 saddle. I am swapping on my XT brakes in place of the Deore that was on there. One ride in and I love it. I am excited to get it out on my favorite single-track.
Awesome! I scored my son a bike on marketplace recently for $800 and it was $2100 in 2017. The guy didn’t appreciate it and as such, didn’t market it well at all, but once I saw it had thru axles and read the geo chart, I drove 45mins and walked away with it for $200 under asking. Hard to find but not impossible!
 
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